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Only Men Can Man the Barricades, pt.1

T.J. Harker

Only Men Can Man the Barricades, pt.1

This is the first part of a two-part essay.

Our 60-year social experiment with multiple “waves” of feminism has nearly destroyed our culture, country, and civilization. Beginning in the 1960s, Second Wave feminists like Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem took the universal suffrage of First Wave feminism off the rails. The destruction begun by the Second Wave feminists accelerated with Third Wave “intersectionality” in the 1990s, and reached the peak of nonsense with digitized Fourth Wave feminism in the 21st century. Catastrophe is the result.

Feminism has destroyed women by transforming them into unbalanced neurotic girl-bosses. Simultaneously, it has emasculated men by flooding our culture with nonsense tropes about toxic masculinity and male privilege while pacifying us with video games, pornography, pharmaceuticals, and low-quality “food.”

It did all this by ignoring the fact that strong men built our civilization across more than 2,500 years, including the entirety of our physical infrastructure (roads, bridges, ports, and buildings) and all our abstract institutions (law, government, science, technology). In other words, almost every man-made thing is, literally, man-made. It was these strong men who also “manned the barricades,” so to speak. They defended what they had built against barbarian hordes, invading armies, common thieves, and stupid ideas like communism. They did so to protect a certain type of woman who was essential to raising a certain type of child; namely, those who might carry the fire of civilization.

Feminism denies or feigns ignorance of these facts, even as its proponents write angry manifestoes on laptops made by men from within homes constructed by men on fine furniture crafted by men. They then distribute those manifestoes across the planet using digital signals encoded with mathematical principles discovered by men.

Ultimately, feminism disrupted and nearly destroyed the proper relationship between men and women (and the proper refuge for children) by destroying the essential character of each. It did that by disregarding the life-sustaining and life-affirming role of women during the millennia that men built western civilization. If the only thing women had done was give birth to and raise the boys who became the men who built civilization, that would be the single greatest accomplishment in all the history of our species. And yet they did so much more: they tamed men’s voracious appetites with monogamous families conducive to effective child rearing; channeled men’s insatiable ambition into civic duty; and refined men’s unbridled power with chivalry, etiquette, and decency. The right kind of woman created the gentleman.

At the same time, feminism pretends that our civilization is harmed by strong, vital men. The truth is the opposite: without such men, there is no civilization. We must have men who have suffered and discovered their capacity for endurance. Men who have competed and learned to win with humility or lose with dignity. Men who have learned to conquer and defend. Men who have thought long enough to discover that some ideas are worth more than mere rationality would calculate. Men who can sustain the painful effort required to strengthen the body and mind in preparation for hardship. And men who have hardened their intellectual and physical capacities on the moving forces of reality. These are the men who built our civilization and only they can maintain and defend it.

The irrational emotivism of feminism has brought catastrophe to all of this. It has proven the cultural equivalent of a gigantic temper tantrum—a political movement impelled by unbridled appetite and hysterical will power. To reverse it, men and women must be restored to their proper social places and celebrated for occupying them. This will require nothing less than the complete destruction of feminism. The fate of the West hangs in the balance.

In this first part, I explore how feminism devastated women. In the next part, I’ll explore how it devastated men.


The Gutting of Custom

Across millennia, the West developed a complex set of customs governing the sexual conduct of men. These customs included extended courtship, abstinence, and marriage ceremonies, as well as public shaming for those who violated such customs, plus much more. All of this acted as a giant filter that selected in favor of a particular social arrangement: long-term monogamous relationships between men and women. These relationships, in turn, created the stable families necessary to raise industrious, prudent, thrifty, intelligent, and disciplined children. Only children raised in this fashion possessed the traits necessary to sustain and grow civilization.

Why was this necessary? Without such powerful social forces channeling men’s sexual conduct, men’s libido would yield widespread promiscuity, fatherlessness, delinquency, criminality, and decay. Men would not raise their own children, leaving women nearly helpless to do so on their own. There would be no civilization.

The key insight here is to recognize that these customs were effective restraints on the sexual appetites of men, not women. They imposed heavy obligations on men tied to their sexual activity—specifically, the burden of assisting women with child-rearing; that is, of acting like fathers. What biology imposed on women only harsh social custom imposed on men. Without it, many men would not “deliver,” so to speak. In short, these customs sent a clear message: 20 years of hard labor as a father is the price of 20 seconds of physical satisfaction, so choose wisely.

Beginning in the 1960s, feminism began to erode these customs, claiming incorrectly that they oppressed women. This was either an unfortunate mistake or an evil trick. In either case, the consequence of all of this can be summed up in a single phrase: The ironic consequence of the sexual liberation movement is that women got fucked. The pun is in the literal and the figurative. The more women spread their legs, the more they lost. First their chastity, then their dignity, then their hope, and finally their very reason for being.

The catastrophe accelerated in the decades leading up to the present. If the consequences for women of sexual licentiousness were obscure in the 1960s, today they are self-evident. Yet the sacred shibboleths of our feminized culture seek desperately to prevent us from saying so. This is the price of such wanton destruction. So great, so painful, so deep, so contrary to basic evolutionary biology, so inimical to the nuclear family, so invidious to deep and abiding womanly happiness have all of the so-called waves of feminism been, that even to acknowledge this fact is almost too painful to bear. To do so would be to admit that all of feminism was a terrible mistake—one that has cost women nearly everything.

The gutting of these customs was justified by Second Wave feminists like Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem. In retrospect, their social diagnoses were embarrassingly stupid. Friedan, for instance, in her celebrated book The Feminine Mystique claimed that women “want something more than [their] husband[s] and [their] children and [their] home.” She argued that the process of realizing those desires would require “a turning point from an immaturity that has been called femininity to full human identity.” Friedan never explained the meaning of “full human identity.” Instead, the gravitas of the phrase intimidated the culture into eliminating restraints on sexual activity without considering the possible consequences.

Lurking in the background, however, was the undeniable fact that for all the long history of the West, “full human identity” for women meant marriage to masculine men, raising civilized children, and maintaining a tidy home. Friedan’s idea that this was “immature” was nonsense. Indeed, marrying and raising a family always required full maturation into adulthood. It could not have been otherwise. Building the most robust, prosperous, powerful, and glorious civilization in the history of the world, generation by painstaking generation, could not have been accomplished by “immature” men and women who lacked “full human identity.” The feminist view is a childish pretense to the contrary.

Speaking in 1971, Gloria Steinem took Friedan’s “full human identity” jargon to its logical extreme by transforming it into a liberationist theology: “We are talking about a society in which there will be no roles other than those chosen.” This was more than enough of an excuse for women to “choose” (i.e., to do) whatever they wanted.

And if women could do whatever they wanted, so could men. With the development of birth control and the widespread availability of abortion, men started to do just that. No longer were there any consequences to men for indulging their biological urge toward unrestrained promiscuity. And if they felt any lingering remorse about not raising the resulting children, they could easily justify such character faults with rationalizations like “she should have taken the pill” or “she chose not to have an abortion.” It’s her fault, you see.

By the Third Wave, feminism’s crusade against sexual norms had been subsumed into hypersexualized and racialized intersectionality, by which women’s demand for “liberation” morphed into a generalized demand for “justice.” This demand came from anybody willing to act like a victim: angry women, gay men, lesbians, transgenders, BIPOCs, illegal immigrants, etc. By “justice” they meant the elimination of all obstacles to anything any of them wanted to do, say, or believe. They coupled this demand with increasingly loud criticisms of anything standing in their way–particularly straight white men.

That—their hatred of anything that restrained their appetite—defined the scope of their common interests. Prior to the internet, this manifested itself in things like drag shows in seedy sections of towns you never visited or pornography in private sections of video rental stores. That changed with the internet.

Fourth Wave feminism is basically Third Wave feminism plus the internet. With new digital tools it dragged this rampant promiscuity (and related perversions and mental disorders) out from the margins of society and into the light of mass culture. Unrestrained sexual appetite blossomed into a million varieties, often testing the limits of depravity in the process. Most of the remaining limits on sexual promiscuity and identity were defeated, with pedophilia being the last holdout. For now.



Having gutted the social norms that restrained male libido, feminism inspired a sexual recklessness that masqueraded as feel-good self-expression. This caused a minor backlash as a few feminists realized that “liberation” from so-called oppressive sexual norms might come with some hefty costs. On cue, just as feminism released men from the moral costs of sex, pornography, including pornography that utterly debased women, exploded.

Catharine MacKinnon, a serious person (among feminists, anyway) and professor at the University of Michigan Law School (my alma mater) was a feminist of a different stripe than Friedan, Steinem, and the intersectionalists. She tried to stop feminism. Some of it, anyway. Her entire career is a textbook example of a maturing revolutionary who tried to salvage some vestige of her youthful idealism in the face of its disastrous real-world consequences. To borrow from Irving Kristol, MacKinnon was truly and thoroughly “mugged by reality.”

MacKinnon attempted a rearguard action by criticizing pornography and the sexual objectification of women. These criticisms might have saved some women had they succeeded. They didn’t. The debasement of women was inherent in feminism from the outset and MacKinnon was easily marginalized by Third Wave feminists who criticized her “reactionary” takes.

Today, Friedan’s and Steinem’s victory is complete. As such, women have never been less feminine or more miserable. This is not mere correlation: listening to Friedan, Steinem, and other feminists was the cause of the disaster that has befallen women, men, families, children, and, ultimately, our country and our civilization. Never in human history has an ideology transformed a psychologically balanced population into a seething mass of unpredictable neurotics so quickly and so thoroughly. Yet feminism did just that, particularly to women with many years of formal education. This last point is ironic since feminism lacks serious intellectual rigor.

Western women were not prepared for this mind virus. Beginning in the 1980s, feminist political operatives began drenching K-12 and university education in a toxic brew of ideological nonsense. They then spread to dominate corporate advertising, media, and politics.

It began with seemingly harmless slogans about girl power. By the late 1990s it revealed its latent absurdity when, for example, it suggested that even professional female athletes like Mia Hamm could defeat superstars like Michael Jordan in various athletic competitions. But this was only seemingly harmless. It was never anything but absurd that Hamm could defeat Jordan at any athletic competition, soccer likely included.

Within a few years, this mildly destructive propaganda transformed first into a license for women to do whatever they want and then into a cultural mandate to celebrate them for doing so. At the same time, it pretended that smart men were actively working to oppress women and that men were too stupid and lazy to be worth much. Feminist propaganda never explained this glaring contradiction.

It is ironic that such media depicted women as oppressed, given the near-total victory of feminism over the culture. Millions of young girls not only came to believe that they could be better than boys at everything, which was obviously false, but also that they should desire to be, which was pernicious. The feminist propaganda achieved its desired effect, leading to an increase in women doing jobs that feminism browbeat them into “wanting” while deceiving them into delaying marriage and childbirth, all to their enormous detriment.

For the c-suite types, the cost was neuroticism. These new high-achieving women are far more likely to be single, barren, miserable, and mentally ill. This was predictable for two reasons. First, such professions are all-consuming, hyper-competitive endeavors, and leave little time for family or personal relationships. As such, they are inherently unpleasant to most men and nearly all women. As Jordan Peterson has observed, the question isn’t why women are underrepresented in such jobs, the question is why there are any men willing to do them at all. Second, no ideology, and certainly not one as un-rigorous as feminism, had any chance of overcoming women’s natural drive for marriage and motherhood. That drive is the essential characteristic of one hundred million years of evolution. To say that it is resilient is the biggest understatement in the history of life on Earth.

Feminism’s celebration of uninhibited sex also imposed high social costs. Since Steinem and Friedan began vomiting their nonsense onto the national culture in the 1960s, children born to unmarried mothers increased 600%, even as the birth rate fell by roughly 50%. At the same time tens of millions of babies were aborted, the marriage rate fell 60%, the divorce rate increased 62%, and STDs like chlamydia, herpes, and genital papilloma virus infected millions. While these sobering statistics represent social and epidemiological disaster, they also represent a dramatic increase in women doing whatever they choose. Friedan and Steinem promised women that feminism would liberate them to achieve their “full human identity.” Instead, they got loneliness, infertility, and STDs.

We now know that indoctrinating every girl with the “You should have lots of sex and aim for the c-suite while ensuring that marriage and kids don’t stand in your way” platitude is just as ideologically blinkered as encouraging every black kid to aim for the NBA without learning to read. It reliably produces miserable people. In fact, the over-achieving, unmarried, childless, neurotic, forty-something female is so common as to be an archetype. There’s even internet slang for her: AWFL DEI or “affluent white female liberal dry egg incel.”



What is feminism doing to alert girls to the danger of pursuing a promiscuous life on birth control and a meaningless c-suite career? The answer is: nothing.

Instead, it is doing everything in its power to deceive. Feminist propaganda targets our daughters with lies. An advertisement depicting happy girls with their moms, fizzy-pop feel-good music, bright colors, and hugs and smiles, while encouraging girls to explore being lawyers, investment bankers, C-level executives, and political leaders, is typical. That these jobs might be great for a small minority of women is beside the point. Such “edge cases” played no role in constructing the gender roles that built our civilization. Had it been otherwise, there would be no “West” to speak of. Indeed, to act otherwise would be to commit suicide, which is precisely what we are doing.

In reality, the vast majority of women indoctrinated by years of this nonsense have painfully different experiences. Just ask any of the female “big-law” associates or investment bank analysts slaving away at midnight under fluorescent lights in desolate Manhattan skyscrapers. Most would trade all that girl-boss nonsense for the serenity that comes with marriage to a masculine man and the childrearing that naturally follows. The sundressed mother standing barefoot on the lush grass near a tidy home while keeping watch over her nearby children is so attractive to most women that they have no choice but to suppress the very idea of it precisely because, for so many of them, it is no longer attainable. Feminism has destroyed it.

At any rate, none of this false inspirational sloganeering is intended to inspire, advance women into professions they want to pursue, or improve women’s lives. Rather, it is intended to continue blurring the lines between men and women until neither resembles its historical archetype, immiserating them in the process. For the feminists, this task will never be complete, which means their propaganda will never cease. Feminism is sophisticated information warfare with no expiration date.

If there’s a silver-lining to this propaganda war, it’s that feminism has almost completely prevailed. This is a silver-lining because it permits us to perform a type of “differential diagnosis” by which we can look at the current state of western women and attribute that state entirely to feminism. Feminism gets all the credit or all the blame, depending on your perspective. If you’re paying attention, it’s all blame.

The West has become so inured to the idea that girls and women can and should do anything, that we simply take for granted that doing so will redound to their advantage. It hasn’t and it won’t. Feminism is destroying women and with them our civilization.


TJ Harker is the General Counsel of a Knoxville, Tennessee company. Until recently, he was a federal prosecutor, where he investigated and tried national white-collar fraud and espionage matters for the Department of Justice. He recently launched Amicus Republicae on Substack and occasionally writes for The American Mind.

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